Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gorgeous Man

I was told he was gorgeous. It was a man I was about to do business with. My new lawyer. The vision of a Ken doll flashed through my mind. Uninterested in classic good looks, I was already unimpressed. It’s the spirit that defines beauty to me.

Yet upon meeting “the gorgeous man”, I had to agree. Yes he was tall, yes he was dark, but he was really only somewhat handsome. What made him really shine was his beautiful smile and easy laugh and all the positive, engaging energy that goes along with it. He was glowing, a truly gorgeous human being.

It is said by some that laughter is the #1 most romantic trait. That doesn’t mean boring your date with telling jokes, often meant to impress rather than to connect. It means true laughter reflecting a passion for life, a genuineness of being, a positive attitude, a fun-loving nature. Who doesn’t want to be around someone who laughs? Laughter is magnetic. It draws people in. The laughter of one person can light up an entire roomful of people. That willing smile and easy laugh is all it takes for anyone to be truly beautiful.

I enjoyed doing business with the gorgeous man.

Photo: Stock.xchnge

Friday, April 22, 2011

Olympia Laughter Yoga Club

Two young, energetic and vivacious people formed Olympia Laughter Yoga Club last year (along with two other laughter leaders). And it looks like it’s thriving!

Miss Kate came to my laughter club several years ago when she was a student at Evergreen College. Driving up from Olympia on a cold dark rainy Thursday evening (90 miles round trip), with three other students, they were an energetic and enthusiastic addition to my group that night. And I’ve always remembered them for driving the distance for laughter.

Now Kate’s a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader herself. Along with her friend Lightbear, another beautiful laugher and CLYL, they frequent my club from time to time, bringing all their great energy with them.

Check out their club if you live down near Olympia. It meets weekly on Sunday at 12:30 at the Unitarian Church in Olympia. They’re also on facebook: Olympia Laughter Yoga Club.

Photo: Miss Kate

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Il Professore

My Italian teacher is so funny. But not that funny. Just the right amount of funny.

I’m fulfilling a lifelong dream to learn Italian. As we crawl along in Italian I, our engaging, playful and often humorous Professore makes learning fun. Laughter in the classroom is a good thing and an effective way to teach.

If he proceeded as a perpetual stand-up comedian, it would be too distracting. It would pull us too far off the subject, like when someone goes on and on trying to be funny. It can get old really fast.

But with regular and intermittent shots of humor, he causes us regular and intermittent shots of laughter. It continually wakes up our brain and prevents us from getting too tense about this humbling process of learning to confidently speak a foreign language.

He stressed how important it is to pronounce double consonants with double strength. For example penne paste spoken with only one lazy n comes out sounding like pene, which means….well, I’ll let you guess. It’s definitely not on the menu.

When discussing how friendly Italians in Italy are, he mentioned Rome as a great city. I countered with the reputation Rome has for robbing tourists; to which he retorted “but they’re friendly when they do it”.

He showed us an adorable animated video of Italian stereotypes, which was hilarious because of course stereotypes have to hold a portion of the truth to be so funny. The traffic clip sent me over the edge.

We read Snoppy cartoons in Italian, one portraying Snoppy dog having nightmares of cats, cats, and more cats: “Un gatto, un gatto, un gatto, mi fa impazzire.” (“It’s making me crazy.”)

He teaches us slang to make it less boring. “Che una frittata!” “What a mess!” And other more colorful sayings unsuitable for a blog about laughter.

When I handed him a check, he exclaimed “fagoli!” which means beans, i.e. food on his table.

When Jill declared I was not riccio, he began a running humorous dialogue about riccio the hedgehog, of which there are many in his native Ukraine. I will forever remember that riccio does not = rich.

He makes this language fun and makes the culture come alive with his humor.

As a bottom line he conducts the class with a perpetual smile and a relaxed manner. That in itself relaxes all of us. We only learn better if we’re relaxed. Our brains wake up more every time we laugh. And a fun class motivates us to stick with it and learn.

As Dr. Seuss said, “I like nonsense – it wakes up the brain.”

Photo: Stock.xchng

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's been 10 Years!

It’s been 10 years! Kevin Wilhelmson at Harborview Hospital and myself at Phinney Neighborhood Center and elsewhere. Along with a few others, we are the pioneers of Laughter Yoga in Seattle and Washington State. More than that we have achieved staying power in birthing and maintaining steady laughter clubs in the area. Bravo! I’m proud of us.

For me, laughter is as much as part of me as breathing. I couldn’t live without it. As I’ve always considered it my best trait, I knew this was my calling the moment I heard of it. Then because laughter yoga was instrumental in my own healing, I made it my life’s work.

In October of 2001, I created my first public laughter club, a timing that I consider relevant. When much of the world was in shock, I knew it was time to bring more laughter into our public consciousness and into the world.

Initially we met weekly in the Red Room at Phinney Neighborhood Center. Then I took time away to build a business leading laughter programs for “anyone who’ll pay me”. Many of them in retirement communities. Missing the spontaneity of a public club, I created one again at Roaring Mouse Studio, which eventually moved back to Phinney Neighborhood Center (now in the Blue Room). I’ve come full circle.

At Phinney Laughter Club I never know who’s coming; or how many, what ages, genders or degree of rustiness in their laughter muscles. It’s a spontaneous surprise every meeting and I love it that way.

Long live Laughter Yoga!!!

Photo: Kevin in his hat doing his thing!

Friday, April 1, 2011


I had the pleasure of seeing Cuban Jazz great Arturo Sandoval recently. A real joyful spirit. I love watching jazz musicians perform because they always have such a good time doing what they do. Arturo’s expertise is on the trumpet.

Included in his repertoire that evening, he sang the old Charlie Chaplin song “Smile” (music by Chaplin, words added later, and initially and famously covered by Nat King Cole).


Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though it’s breaking.

When there are clouds in the sky

You’ll get by.

If you smile through your pain and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll see the sun come shining through

For you.

Light up your face with gladness,

Hide every trace of sadness.

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying.

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile –

If you just smile.

Photo: Wikimedia: Charlie Chaplin